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EAC urges member states to enhance preparedness after Ebola outbreak in Uganda

Screening at the border has been stepped up. File Photo

Arusha, Tanzania | Xinhua | The East African Community (EAC) secretariat on Thursday urged member states of the regional bloc to enhance emergency preparedness and response activities following an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Uganda.

On Sept. 20, Uganda, one of the seven member states of the EAC, declared an outbreak of Ebola after a case of the Sudan Ebola virus strain was confirmed in Mubende district in the central part of the country.

The EAC said in a statement issued at its headquarters in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha that the EAC secretariat urges the member states to enhance surveillance and laboratory testing, especially in border areas. The EAC secretariat also urged the member states to implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures and increase risk communication and community awareness of the disease.

Anthony Kafumbe, the EAC acting deputy secretary general for Productive and Social sectors, asked the EAC member states to consider the deployment of the EAC mobile laboratories to strategic outbreak hotspots and at various border points of entry, said the statement.

“This shall enhance screening of the suspected cases as these mobile laboratories have the capabilities to handle such level three and level four pathogens,” said Kafumbe.

The statement said the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed optimism about Uganda’s ability to tackle the epidemic and is helping Ugandan health authorities investigate and deploy staff to the affected area.

The EAC member states are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

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